NOVEMBER 2020
Colorado Gives Day - December 8
Colorado Gives, Will You?
One of most significant and impactful philanthropic events of the year is happening soon. Colorado Gives Day is a day of focused giving to Colorado nonprofit organizations... and it is augmented by a $1 million dollar match by the Community First Foundation.

This is a key event in our annual fundraising calendar and this year it is easier than ever to support Firefly Autism's work.

You can now pre-schedule your annual end-of-year donation by simply clicking HERE. Your donation will be boosted by the $1 million dollar incentive fund to provide maximum benefit of your generous donation.

Check out what our Board President, John Griffith has to say about the importance of this day!
You can help us by making a donation any time between now and December 8th, and spreading the word about Colorado Gives Day to your social media and email networks.
As Colorado sees another spike in COVID cases, Firefly needs funding more than ever to ensure our clients are receiving essential services. Every dollar you donate to Firefly on Colorado Gives Day goes directly to supporting our programming and moving clients from our waiting list to our classrooms.

Visit ColoradoGives.org/FireflyAutism and click the donation button at the top of the page to #ShineBrightWithUs!

Learn more about this day from our Executive Director, Jesse Ogas.
Getting to Know You
Meet our new Leadership Staff!
As Firefly Autism grows and builds a national and international presence as leaders in ABA therapy and training, we also continue to hire the most talented leaders to help fulfill our vision and continue to move us forward. Recently, Firefly Autism has been able to welcome three outstanding leaders to our team.
Kelli Smith, BCBA, Assistant Director of Home-Based Services
Kelli started as the Assistant Director of Home-based services at Firefly Autism in October 2020. Her interest in working with individuals on the autism spectrum started in her undergrad programs at UC Santa Barbara, where she obtained Psychology and Sociology degrees. Shortly after graduation, she began working as a behavior therapist at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Los Angeles, CA, where she truly fell in love with the field of ABA. Over the next 8 years that followed, she obtained her master’s degree from Florida Institute of Technology and her BCBA certification in 2015, and was promoted to several leadership positions within the company. She is passionate about teaching complex cognition skills, including social and perspective-taking skills, and working with caregivers to teach them fundamental ABA skills. 
Her interest in Firefly was an unexpected opportunity, but after learning more about the organization and what it stands for, she committed to moving to start my new career and life in Colorado. Outside of Firefly, Kelli enjoys soaking up the beautiful Colorado weather while hiking, playing volleyball, and hanging out with her dog, Banksy. You can also find her trying new restaurants and exploring the city!
Tobin Truslow, Director of Development
Tobin Truslow is a seasoned executive with 15 years experience in business operations and management for mid-sized through Fortune 500 companies. Tobin specializes in donor relations and fund development to support non-profit operations focused on youth and adult education programs. Tobin has a degree from the University of Virginia in Financial Economics and participated in NCAA athletics all four years. Managing special events for the last 10 years, Tobin has worked with top celebrities such as Peyton Manning, Emmitt Smith and Mike Shanahan. He is an Eagle Scout, musician, professional photographer, certified human capital coach and enjoys mentoring other employees across multiple departments. Tobin is a dedicated leader in the workplace and uses his drive and tireless energy to encourage staff performance and connect with benefactors building long term relationships. When not working Tobin and his wife Angelina love to ski/snowboard, listen to live music and watch sports with their terrier Stormy.
Melissa Diamond, Director of Partnerships
Melissa Diamond has dedicated her career to developing innovative solutions that foster inclusion on a global scale. She is the Founder of A Global Voice for Autism, an international non-profit that has served over 15,000 individuals in conflict-affected communities through inclusive-education capacity-building programs. She is also the co-founder of MyBeeBee, a social enterprise that makes motor skills development toys for 2-5-year-old children while creating sustainable livelihoods for refugee women in Jordan. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Richmond, a Masters in Conflict Security and Development from the University of Bradford, in England, where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow, and a Masters of Management in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China, where she was a Schwarzman Scholar.
Melissa’s advocacy for disability rights and refugee rights has been recognized globally. She has spoken on stages in 52 countries, including at the United Nations. She sits on the Roddenberry Foundation’s Board of Advisors and on the Boards of Directors for
the AMENDS Fellows Network and A Global Voice for Autism. Melissa enjoys art, reading and writing and her first novel is set for publication in August 2021.
Board Member of the Month
Meet Gary Moore
One of our longest serving Board members, Gary Moore joined the Firefly Autism Board of Directors in 2011. In addition, he served as our Interim Executive Director during a time of transition for the organization and is largely responsible for the creation and early direction of Firefly's annual highlight, Laugh Yourself Blue.

Gary came to Firefly Autism through the Big Brother mentor program. He was matched with a young man who was later assessed to be on the autism spectrum. When he made that known at Mile High United Way where he did volunteer work, they connected him with Firefly Autism, which was expanding its Board at that time. This gave him the opportunity to learn more about autism.

Gary says that his it was his personal connection with people on the spectrum who he knew and cared for that led his desire to commit time to the Board of Directors. He says, "the obvious professionalism of the clinical staff and leadership" is why he has stayed. He is passionate about helping to provide help for "the dramatic need families have once a child is assessed on the spectrum.  

Early into the development of Firefly Autism as a leader in treatment and training, Gary says he was proud that the organization was able to simply survive. Now, the clinical staff, the leadership, and to top it all off, the new facility are areas where Gary see major success in the organization he has helped lead and grow.

Gary says that a core value of his that has helped steer him towards personal and professional success is that once we gets involved in something, he commits to it...with care for others and professionalism.
Gary's initial career was in industrial distribution of warehouse equipment, including purchasing and selling a Denver based distributor where he worked 30 years. After that sale, he launched a career in speaking, writing, consulting in that industry. This included publishing 3 books on sales and sales management; and the book Navigating in Organizations; How to Impact Organizations and Get Things Done. His community commitments have included board presidents of Big Brothers of Metropolitan Denver; Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation; and Firefly Autism as well as major commitments to Mile High United Way.

During this month of renewed attention to giving thanks, FIrefly Autism would like to share a heartfelt, THANK YOU, to Gary and all of our incredibly gifted and passionate Board members, who give so much to ensure the success of our mission.

Thank you, Gary!
CLINICAL CONNECTION
The Firefly Early Learning Center: Coming Soon!
MORE INFO AT LEARNFIREFLY.COM
PARENT SUPPORT GROUP STARTING SOON
diverse_family_friends.jpg
A parent in our community, Michael Waugh, will be starting a parent support group on Monday evenings. Michael will be facilitating this group at the Firefly Autism home in Lakewood. The goal of this group is to create a space for parents of children on the spectrum to share their challenges and successes and support each other.

If you are interested in joining this group, please go HERE to sign up or contact Michael directly at: mikiecoparents@gmail.com 
 
The group will begin meeting on Monday, November 16th from 6:30-7:30 and will meet every other Monday going forward.  
  
Please note: the group, it’s discussions, and all content and communication is completely separate from Firefly Autism as a whole, and should be treated as such. Management and staff of Firefly Autism have no role in the running of the group but are simply providing a space for this wonderful service.  
Firefly Autism Featured in National Media
Firefly Autism is a nationally recognized leader in Autism Spectrum diagnosis, treatment, therapy and training. This month, The Hill publication spoke with our Dr. Kelly about the challenges related to working with individuals on the spectrum-- to find a mask that protects them, and others, while keeping a minimal footprint and disruption to routines and what is expected.
An excerpt from the article: “The very first thing to always remember when we're talking about individuals with autism is every single person is completely different,” says Amanda Kelly, who is the Home-Based Programs Director at Firefly Autism. “It's very hard to say broadly one type of mask is better than another because everybody is entirely individual and completely different.”
Read the whole article HERE.
Walmart Steps Up with a Generous Gift
Our partners at Walmart have proven time and again that their investment in our community goes far beyond providing goods, services and jobs. Walmart has long been a significant funder of our programs and once again has stepped up with a generous donation.

A special thanks to Board of Director member John Hale and his team at Walmart for their check in the amount of $15,000. This significant gift goes a long way in delivering programs and supports that change lives.

It is not a small gift by any means, but we 'get by with a little help from our friends'. John Hale and Walmart, Thank You!
Donor Spotlight -
Robert B. Sturm
Last month we introduced you to Robert B. Sturm but in case you didn't see our newsletter, we wanted to share his story and our appreciation of him again.

Bob’s story is a special one to Firefly Autism because he came to our old facility to learn about the work we were doing. We learned at that time that Robert was diagnosed with Asperger’s just two years prior. After the tour of our facility, Robert stopped into Executive Director, Jesse Ogas' office and posed a question Jesse will never forget.

"Where was Firefly when I was a younger boy?" asked Robert. It was at that time he shared with Jesse that he had been diagnosed recently, in his 50's, and now looking back he understood why he felt at times he didn’t fit in. It was so powerful and moving that the team decided Firefly Autism would immediately design programs to work with adults on the spectrum with high executive functions to ensure they have the support systems in place and to help build a community of like-minded peers.

Robert has provided significant funding for programs and renovations for our new building. We are exceedingly grateful for his commitment to our organization and the legacy he will leave as we continue to work towards serving high functioning adults on the spectrum.

Thank you, Robert B. Sturm.
Celebrate we will,
for life is short but sweet for certain!
Firefly staff had a moment recently to enjoy the sunshine, in the moment, and be grateful for what is now. Go Halloween!
BEFORE YOU GO...
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW
Show your Firefly Autism Pride! Check out our Firefly Merch!

All items available by suggested donation and can be picked up in our main office or mailed to you.

Just email our office staff to order yours!